How Sleep (Or The Lack Of It) Can Affect Your Eyes

Few things can make us feel as rejuvenated and raring to go as a great night’s sleep. We’re able to deal with stress better, our minds are clearer, and our problem-solving skills go up a notch. Our health sees a boost and even our emotions seem to be in check. Our eyes too see the benefits even if we may not always be aware of it. We often talk about the importance of better sleep for physical and mental wellbeing but we don’t always focus on how it affects our eyes. In an age of technology where much of our work revolves around working on computers, it’s especially important that techies keep their eyes healthy.

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If we look a little deeper, there’s a whole lot of things to be gained for our eyes like better vision, no redness, and no dryness. As many as 4.88 million Americans aged 50 and beyond have what’s known as dry eyes, which can be caused by lack of sleep. Other conditions like Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) are also associated with poor sleep. If your eyes aren’t feeling great, maybe it’s time to look at how well you’ve been sleeping and try to sleep better.

How Does Sleep Affect Your Eyes

Since sleep plays such a big role in overall health, it should come as no surprise that it also impacts the eyes. They need at least 5 hours of sleep each night. During this time, the muscles of the eyes relax, and nutrients from the food you’ve eaten are transported to various organs including the eyes to nourish them. When you get enough quality sleep, you also stave off health conditions that can, in turn, impact the state of your eyes.


Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is the loss of blood flow to the eye, resulting in loss of vision. It’s not certain what causes it but there are several risk factors, one of them being sleep apnea syndrome (SAS). SAS is a sleep disorder where the upper airway narrows or becomes blocked and prevents air from entering the lungs freely. Sleep is disrupted as sufferers frequently wake up to breathe.

While the link between NAION and SAS is unclear, it could be that SAS causes acute spikes in blood pressure and abnormally low levels of oxygen in the blood (hypoxemia) which may then cause the optic nerves to swell and interfere with vision.

Dry Eye

Have you ever felt like your eyes were grimy even though you weren’t exposed to dust? Or that they feel itchy and scratchy when you don’t sleep enough? The condition is known as dry eye and it can be caused by a number of things like wind, smoke and not blinking often enough. It can also be caused by poor sleep. When you stay up too late or don’t sleep well, your eyes will not get the 5 hours rest it need and they aren’t being lubricated properly because they’re open for too long. The air dries them out and dust can cause irritation. If it isn’t treated, dry eye can cause blurry vision and make eyes susceptible to infection.


Unlike the eye conditions we’ve covered so far, myokima is more a nuisance than anything else. However, it can rob you of confidence and leave you feeling frustrated. Myokima is an involuntary twitching of the eyelids. Factors like too little sleep, having too much caffeine, nicotine and alcohol can trigger it. While it isn’t serious and goes away once you get rest and lay off the coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol, it’s quite distracting and can make you feel self-conscious especially when interacting with people.

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Phillip C | Published on Tuesday, April 10, 2018

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Dark Circles

During sleep, the body repairs and regenerates cells and carries oxygen and nutrients to different areas. Lack of sleep interferes with this important process and causes the skin to look dry and thin. Blood vessels also dilate, and when combined with the dry and thin skin, the areas under the eyes look dark and unhealthy.

Hypertensive Retinopathy

Poor sleep is linked to high blood pressure that arises as a result of the body not being able to regulate stress hormones properly and keep the nervous system healthy. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, but it can also cause hypertensive retinopathy. It’s a condition where the retina doesn’t get enough blood. Vision eventually becomes blurry.

Good sleep should never be a luxury. It’s a necessity, and we’d do well to remember that. You can enjoy better sleep by making small improvements to your sleep habits and environment. Start by learning to de-stress and relax in the run-up to bedtime. Ditch caffeine after 2 pm and try to stay away from alcohol and nicotine. Have a bedroom that relaxes and makes you want to sleep. Use supportive pillows and a mattress so that your spine is naturally aligned.

Nuvanna is a mattress that promises better sleep. It’s designed by a mattress scientist with more than 20 years of experience and is made with top-quality materials and modern technology. It features three layers to target three areas that affect sleep. The top layer is made of phase-changing gel particles that absorb body heat and disperse it to keep you cool. The middle layer prevents the motion from being transferred across the bed so that you and your partner can move freely. The bottom layer uses a Progressive Support System that keeps the spine and individual body parts in position.

Sleep is so restorative and so vital to our health that we really can’t afford to go without a full night’s rest. Maintaining the health of your eyes through proper sleep and a balanced diet means the difference between being able to see well and even not at all. The gift of sight is one of the most priceless, and we should try and do all we can to make sure we get to enjoy it for as long as possible.

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